THE Bulawayo City Council has acceded to a request by the MDC Alliance presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa to exempt the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo’s Pelandaba’s house and a museum built in his honour from paying monthly rates.
Chamisa visited the museum before the MDC Alliance rally held in Bulawayo last month.
After visiting Nkomo’s Pelandaba house and the museum located at the late vice president’s Matsheumhlope residence, Chamisa made a request to the MDC-T led council to exempt the two properties from paying any rates to the local authority.
Chamisa also pleaded with the council to ensure that the museum is upgraded to a level of a strategic national institution.
According to latest finance and development committee council minutes, initially the city fathers were divided over the issue but following extensive debate, they finally agreed to exempt Nkomo’s family from paying the rates.
“Thereafter it was resolved that the request for rates exemption for Lot 1 of S/DA of Farm 11 Matsheumhlope in respect of A/C ref.55320204 be acceded to and (ii) that the recommendation of Chamber Secretary (Sikhangele Zhou-Valuation ) not to accede to the application for rates exemption for the Pelandaba house be not supported and instead the house be exempted from paying rates for the property and the Trustee to pay the outstanding balance (amounting to $8 806,60 + $28, 06) in affordable monthly instalments ,” reads part of the minutes.
According to the council minutes, the Nkomo’s family has since 2016 also been begging BCC for exemption from paying rates for the museum and the Pelandaba house.
Councillors in support of the motion argued that Nkomo deserved respect because of his role in the liberation struggle.
Deputy Mayor, Gift Banda and ward one councillor, Mlandu Ncube supported the motion while those in opposition argued that the exemption will set a bad precedent.
“In South Africa, iconic citizens are treated with respect and dignity. The late Joshua Nkomo deserved that kind of respect and history should be preserved,” said Banda. Nkomo passed away in 1999 after battling with prostate cancer for a long time.